Workers compensation laws in many countries require employers to pay medical costs and compensation for on-the-job injuries. Irvine, California-based CorVel Inc. is a health care management organization that uses GIS to help employers understand their employees' most common injuries. BodyViewer is a GIS application that determines the most common injuries, the cost of treating injuries, the potential savings for the employer. For example, if a company in Texas wants to examine injury frequency and treatment costs in an effort to review employee safety programs, CorVel uses BodyViewer and client workman's compensation data to analyze these questions.
BodyViewer can index ailments, treatments and procedures using more than 14,000 International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) healthcare industry codes. The system can produce maps of the human body, color-coding parts or representative parts, so that it is easy to see which types of injury occur most frequently and how much they cost to treat (Figure 6). As is often the case with workman's compensation injuries, musculoskeletal injuries occur most frequently.
Figure 6: Map produced using BodyView a GIS that shows the number of reported injuries by for different body parts. The geographic location of the patient is also shown in the Map View.
This is but one very large-scale healthcare GIS application. GIS has also been widely applied in health care for applications as diverse as investigating the effect of pollution on breast cancer, preventing the spread of malaria, locating pharmaceutical companies efficiently, and investigating the epidemiology of diseases like cholera.
This application shows how GIS can be applied at all scales, combine a traditional geographic map database with a spatially referenced body database.
Cutting the levels of work place injuries with healthcare GIS, Healthcare evaluation and mapping, US, ArcNews 20(2):26 Summer 1998